WHAT’S IT LIKE? The Hilton Dublin Kilmainham is a new-build property that opened in May 2007 on the site of an old chocolate factory. Its location just outside the city centre means it’s set in the kind of grounds you wouldn’t get in town – many of the rooms have views of the surrounding greenery and you certainly feel at a remove from the bustle of Dublin, although the property does sit on a busy road. Across the road are the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the historic Kilmainham Gaol, now open as a visitor attraction.
The hotel is a yellow-brick building six storeys high. Walk in through revolving glass doors and you’ll find yourself in a large, airy lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows. To your left is the spacious Cinnamon bar, which leads on to the hotel’s restaurant; to your right is a seating area with comfy-looking brown and red sofas; and ahead of you is reception. Piped musak plays in the background.
WHERE IS IT? Slightly out of the city, in Kilmainham, the hotel is nevertheless well connected – the drive into the centre takes about 10-15 minutes, traffic permitting, and it’s close to the Luas tram system, which takes you into the city in about 15 minutes. It’s also close to the financial and legal districts by the quayside. A taxi into the centre will cost you 8-10 euro and there is an underground car park beneath the property.
ROOM FACILITIES There are 120 rooms across five floors – 110 of these are standard Hilton Guest rooms and 10 are Deluxe and have their own balconies that run the length of the room. My Deluxe room on the fourth floor was spacious at 34 sqm and was arranged in an L-shape, with the bathroom to the immediate right, a king-size bed/dressing area on the left and a living/working area tucking around to the right behind the bathroom.
The room was bright with floor-to-ceiling windows looking on to the surrounding parkland – note that the windows don’t shut out all the road noise. It was decked out in typical Hilton style - cream walls, dark green carpet and white bed linen with an orange throw and a dark-green leather headboard. The living area had a comfortable dark green armchair, a pale wood coffee table and a large L-shaped workdesk. Sitting on the desk were the tea and coffee-making facilities and a flatscreen TV that could be angled to face the bed or the armchair.
The TV incorporated an entertainment system with a decent selection of satellite channels, movies and a dated choice of music. The selection system for this was rather annoying as it played only one song at a time, so each time you wanted to play another track you had to go back to the beginning of the menu.
Other facilities in the room include wired and wireless internet, although when I stayed the wifi wasn’t working. Access costs 20 euro for 24 hours. There are plug sockets above the desk, including one for US appliances, and another behind the desk, which was difficult to reach. The minibar had a selection of spirits, red and white wine, Heineken and Miller lager, soft drinks, mixers and mineral water (a bottle of which cost 4 euro), as well as nuts, jelly beans and chocolate raisins. There was also a thin robe and slippers, an in-room safe, a hairdryer, and an iron and ironing board. The bathroom was large and bright with a separate bath and rain shower and a limited selection of La Source by Crabtree and Evelyn amenities. Standard rooms have a combined bath/shower and are 32 sqm in size.
MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES There are nine meeting rooms on the ground and lower-ground floor, holding from ten people classroom-style to 100 for a reception. All rooms have natural daylight and up-to-date technology. There is also a business centre with secretarial services available.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS The bright, glass-walled Cinnamon bar and café is a relaxed space decorated in orange, grey and green and serves light meals throughout the day and evening. Open 7am-10pm. The Cinnamon restaurant, which serves international cuisine and traditional Irish dishes, is warm and welcoming with burgundy carpets and booth-style seating, dark-wood furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows. The good-quality breakfast is served here and includes a cooked buffet, eggs prepared to order, and a good selection of cereals, pastries, yogurts and fruit, all colour-coded to show calorie content. Open 7am-11pm. Room service is available 24 hours.
LEISURE FACILITIES There is an impressive LivingWell spa facility on the lower-ground floor with a large hydrotherapy pool, monsoon shower, spa bath, steam room and sauna. There is also an aerobics studio, a gym with high-tech machines that have their own television screens, and a free weights area.
VERDICT A modern, good-quality hotel with all the facilities you would expect from a new-build Hilton.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 120, including 10 Deluxe rooms
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The large size, the invigorating shower and the balcony looking out on to the grounds.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in April started from £84 for a Hilton Guest room.
CONTACT Hilton Dublin Kilmainham, Inchicore Road, Kilmainham; tel +353 1420 1800; dublinkilmainham.hilton.comMichelle Mannion